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Programme-budget for the operational expenditure of the Assembly in 1995

Opinion 180 (1994)

Author(s):
Parliamentary Assembly
Origin
See Doc. 7056, report of the Committee on the Budget and the Intergovernmental Work Programme, Rapporteur: Mr Schiesser. Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 18 May 1994.
Thesaurus
1. The Assembly is grateful to the Committee of Ministers for having taken budgetary decisions enabling it in 1994 to catch up on part of the delay which had accumulated in the past in matching its Secretariat structure to the pressing requirements arising from the enlargement of the Organisation.
2. In view of the Vienna Summit decisions and the continuing process of enlargement, the Assembly wishes to be given the essential human and financial resources to fulfil all its responsibilities.
3. In particular, the pan-European programme of interparliamentary co-operation must be enhanced to satisfy the increasing demands emanating from the beneficiary parliaments.
4. With regard to staffing, the Assembly hopes, in the course of 1995, to be in a position to solve a number of problems which have arisen in the key sectors of its Secretariat.
5. Political groups must be enabled to play a full role in the training of parliamentarians and in exchanges with the political parties of the new democracies.
6. The Assembly is fully aware of the budgetary difficulties affecting the large majority of member states' governments and has taken this into account in formulating its budgetary requests for 1995.
7. In the light of the considerations outlined above, the Assembly adopts this opinion and reiterates that its priorities are:
  • consolidating and increasing the resources it needs to make a more effective contribution, through dialogue, information for parliamentarians, training of parliamentary administrative staff and co-operation in the legislative field, to fostering pluralist democracy in the central and east European countries and promoting democratic security in accordance with the guidelines adopted by the Vienna Summit;
  • adjusting the staffing and administrative structure of the Clerk's Office to the full range of the Assembly's responsibilities;
  • modernising its equipment (computerisation and office automation).

As in previous years, the Assembly's opinion is in two parts:

i table of 1994 appropriations and 1995 estimates;
ii detailed explanation of the changes requested.

In the second part, the Assembly also recapitulates the procedure governing the preparation of its opinion and states its budget priorities for 1995 (see the foreword).

Appendix

VOTE III of the ordinary budget - Expenditure of the Assembly

HEAD 3.1 - Staff

Sub-heads/Articles

3101 -Salary, allowances and social charges of the Clerk of the Assembly

3102 -Remuneration of staff recruited on established posts

3102 bis - Staffing changes requested in the Office of the Clerk

3103 -Recruitment, arrival and departure expenses - Home leave

3104 -Overtime - Statutory and other allowances

3105 -Remuneration and accessory charges of temporary conference staff

3106 -Provision for adjustments to remuneration

TOTAL HEAD 3.1

HEAD 3.2 - Allocation to the Assembly's political groups

3201 - Allocation to the Assembly's political groups

TOTAL HEAD 3.2

Appropriations for 1994

FF

1 078 000

32 482 000

432 000

100 000

16 963 000

1 217 000

52 272 000

3 081 000

3 081 000

Changes in real terms proposed for 1995

FF

+ 1 124 000

+ 3 000 000

+ 4 124 000

+ 500 000

+ 500 000

VOTE III of the ordinary budget - Expenditure of the Assembly

HEAD 3.3 - Supplies, services and other operational expenditure

Sub-heads/Articles

3301 - Publishing and printing

3302 -Official expenses of the President of the Assembly

3303 -Expenditure pertaining to the Private Office of the President of the Assembly

3304 -Representational expenditure, other official expenditure and travelling expenses of members of the Assembly

3305 -Official journeys

3306 -Expenses for inviting parliamentary delegations of non-member states

3307 -Consultation of experts

3308 - Organisation of ad hoc conferences

3309 -Strasbourg Conference

3310 -Other expenditure not specifically provided for in this vote

3311 -Modernisation of the Assembly's equipment (computerisation and office automation)

3312 -Europe Prizes

TOTAL HEAD 3.3

TOTAL VOTE III

FF

1 408 000

535 000

328 000

1 000 000

1 700 000

2 200 000

521 000

1 140 000

250 000

245 000

t.e.

260 000

9 587 000

64 940 000

Appropriations for 1994

FF

+ 150 000

+ 350 000

+ 100 000

p.m.

+ 100 000

+ 700 000

+ 5 324 000

Changes in real terms proposed for 1995

B. Detailed justification of the changes requested in real terms

Foreword

The Assembly is called upon, as it is every year, to give its opinion on Vote III of the ordinary budget of the Council of Europe, that is, the part of the draft budget dealing with appropriations pertaining to its operations. The appropriations pertaining to facilities, supplies and equipment do not come under this head.

The increases requested for 1995 should be regarded as increases in real terms over the Assembly's appropriations for 1994. As in previous years, the Assembly is leaving it to the Secretariat's administrative departments to assess in due course the adjustments that are being or will be made to 1994 appropriations as a result of changes in salary scales, the implications of such changes for 1995 and the provisions that need to be made for salary adjustments in 1995. Similarly, it will be up to the Secretary General to adjust the other appropriations for inflation.

The amounts of the appropriations requested by the Assembly for 1995 will thus be determined by the total appropriations to the Assembly for 1994 (including any additional appropriations in the course of the year) plus:

- the increases in real terms requested in this opinion;

- the technical adjustments made by the Secretariat.

The Assembly's priorities are :

- to consolidate and increase resources in order to make a more effective contribution, through dialogue, information for parliamentarians, training for parliamentary administrative staff and co-operation in the legislative field, to fostering pluralist democracy in the countries of central and eastern Europe and promoting democratic security in accordance with the guidelines adopted by the Vienna Summit;

- to adjust the staffing and adapt the administrative structure of the Office of the

Clerk of the Assembly to the full range of the Assembly's responsibilities;

- to modernise its computer and office equipment.

Analysis of the various estimates by budgetary item

Vote III - Expenditure of the Parliamentary Assembly

HEAD 3.1- Staff

Sub-head 3101 -Salary, allowances and social charges of the Clerk of the Assembly

Sub-head 3102 -Remuneration of staff recruited on established posts

This appropriation covers the basic salaries, allowances (both non-recurring and periodic) and social insurance of the staff of the Office of the Clerk, which comprises the following sixty-nine posts:

- one A7 post;

- two A6 posts;

- five A5 posts;

- fourteen A4 posts;

- fifteen A2/A3 posts;

- five B5 posts;

- six B4 posts;

-nineteen B3 posts;

- two B2 posts.

Sub-head 3102 bis - Staffing changes requested in the

Office of the Clerk

Estimates for 1995 (1 176 000 FF):

- creation of one A4 post 549 000 FF

- creation of one B5 post 304 000 FF

- creation of one B4 post 271 000 FF

- up-grading of two posts from A4 to A5 52 000 FF

Following the decisions of the Committee of Ministers concerning the 1994 budget, which led to a significant increase in the number of staff on established posts in the Office of the Clerk, the Assembly will probably only request the creation of the following posts, the need for which is particularly urgent.

a. One A4 post of assistant to the head of Table Office. The latter's duties are becoming increasingly complex (both because of the increase in the number of part-sessions and Standing Committee meetings and because of the enlargement of the Organisation and the participation of special guest delegations in Assembly sessions).

At present, he is only assisted in these duties on a part-time basis by one A4 administrative officer who also serves as a committee secretary and is responsible for specific dossiers assigned by the Clerk. Increasing the staff of the Table Office is therefore a matter of priority. An assistant to the head of Table Office could prepare and follow up the dossiers, allowing the rational apportionment of duties and the rotation now regarded as essential.

b. One B5 post of private secretary to the President of the Assembly. The duties attaching to this post have grown in recent years: the President's private secretary is now responsible for preparing and following up certain dossiers, drafting memoranda and maintaining high-level contacts (in particular in preparation for the President's visits and meetings). Given the small complement of staff in the President's Private Office, she also has to help with all the unit's work.

c. One B4 post for the management of the Assembly's budget. The creation of this post would enable the Office of the Clerk to deal more effectively with the demands arising from the increasing complexity and number of financial and accounting operations and from the direct management of resources introduced as part of the process of administrative decentralisation in the Secretariat. At present, the only full-time staff member here is one B5 administrative assistant.

In particular, the creation of a B4 post for a second administrative assistant who would co-operate closely in Central Section with the existing grade B5 staff member has been rendered necessary by a number of factors: the expenses for parliamentary delegations from non-member states, which are paid directly during the sessions, the fact that the staff member in charge of budgetary matters often has to attend the colloquies held under the pan-European programme of interparliamentary co-operation, the increasing complexity of the task of managing the appropriations under Vote IX (where the financial situation of the programmes has to be updated by computer) and the work involved in the management of staff members' official journeys, for which appropriations have almost doubled over the last five years.

d. Secretaries of committees who have heavy responsibilities should qualify for upgrading, particularly if at an advanced stage in their careers, so that their grades properly reflect experience acquired and meritorious performance in the service of the Assembly. The impact on the budget would be very slight and career prospects of Council of Europe staff would be improved as advocated by the Assembly in Recommendation 1226 (1993).

e. In addition, it is worth reiterating the Assembly's view that it should be allocated at least one new A2/A3 post for each new member country. Although there has already been delay in applying this principle, it should, of course, be implemented with due care.

Sub-head 3103 -Recruitment, arrival and departure expenses - Home leave

Sub-head 3104 -Overtime - Statutory and other allowances

Sub-head 3105 -Remuneration and accessory charges of temporary conference staff

Increase requested: 3 000 000 FF.

The enlargement of the Council of Europe and the increase in the number of sessions have led to a growth in the number of pages to be produced. Added to these are the increases in salaries for temporary staff. For these reasons, if documents for sittings and verbatim reports of the Assembly debates are to appear on time, additional temporary staff (for document production) are needed. The requirements in this sector have been assessed using estimates provided by the relevant department (SEDDOC). In addition there are the interpreting expenses, which have also increased significantly as a result, partly, of the growing number of meetings, and also of the back-up measures required to cope with more languages. For all these reasons, the Assembly requests an increase in the appropriations for this sub-head, estimated at this stage at 3 000 000 FF.

Sub-head 3106 -Provision for adjustments to remuneration

The Assembly proposes that the 1995 appropriations for Sub-heads 3103, 3104 and 3106 be kept at the same level in real terms as in 1994.

HEAD 3.2 - Allocation to the Assembly's political groups

Increase requested: 500 000 FF.

The allocation made to the political groups is not sufficient to enable them to cope with the many demands arising from the enlargement of the Council of Europe, in particular as regards the facilities available, the holding of seminars and the participation of the new members and special guests in the various events organised by the groups. In this respect, it should be recalled that, in its Opinion No. 172 (1993), the Assembly requested an increase in real terms of 800 000 FF, but was only granted an increase of 300 000 FF in real terms. The Assembly therefore requests an increase of 500 000 FF in real terms.

Budgetary package

Since 1975, the appropriations under the following sub-heads have been voted in a lump sum. The various amounts in this package may subsequently be altered under Article 31 of the Financial Regulations.

The budgetary package covers the following items:

Sub-head 3301 -Publishing and printing

Sub-head 3302 -Official expenses of the President of the Assembly

Sub-head 3303 -Expenditure pertaining to the Private Office of the President of the Assembly

Sub-head 3304 -Representational expenditure, other official expenditure and travelling expenses of members of the Assembly

Sub-head 3305 - Official journeys

Sub-head 3306 - Expenses for inviting parliamentary delegations of non-member states

The Assembly proposes that the 1995 appropriations for Sub-heads 3301 to 3306 be kept at the same level in real terms as in 1994.

Sub-head 3307 -Consultation of experts

Increase requested: 150 000 FF.

The growth in activity relating to the organisation of colloquies (hearings, seminars, etc.) and the examination of highly technical subjects in the Assembly's various areas of responsibility are creating an increased need for the consultation of outside experts. In addition, the consultation of such experts is proving extremely useful as a means of going deeper into certain topics relating to the enlargement of the Organisation which are particularly sensitive in legal and political terms. The Assembly therefore requests an increase of 150 000 FF.

Sub-head 3308 -Organisation of ad hoc conferences

Increase requested: 350 000 FF.

The organisation of ad hoc conferences is justifiably considered by the committees to be a key method of gathering information and hearing views about topics within their areas of responsibility. In this way, the committees are able to obtain discussion material which proves most valuable when determining the Assembly's position on particular issues. The appropriations available to the Assembly for these activities should therefore be increased by 350 000 FF.

Sub-head 3309 -Strasbourg Conference

The Assembly proposes that the 1995 appropriations for Sub-head 3309 be kept at the same level in real terms as in 1994.

Sub-head 3310 -Other expenditure not specifically provided for in this vote

Increase requested: 100 000 FF.

The Assembly's growing responsibilities, in particular in connection with the enlargement of the Council of Europe, are resulting in more and more miscellaneous expenditure relating, in general, to the implementation of particular activities (for instance, the hiring of cars during certain missions). In the light of past experience, it would be advisable to provide an increase of 100 000 FF.

Sub-head 3311 -Modernisation of the Assembly's equipment (computerisation and office automation)

Token entry.

As explained in the foreword to this opinion, one of the Assembly's priorities is still the modernisation of its equipment. It is therefore prepared to make a lump-sum contribution to this from its budgetary package, appropriations permitting.

Sub-head 3312 -Europe Prizes

Increase requested: 100 000 FF.

The procedures for awarding the Europe Prizes and the Museum Prize have become more complex in recent years because of the enlargement of the Organisation. In particular, more meetings have to be held because more dossiers have to be examined. The appropriation under this sub-head should therefore be increased by 100 000 FF.

VOTE IX - Co-operation with the countries of central and eastern Europe

HEAD 9.2 - Parliamentary activities

Sub-head 9201 -Co-operation programme of the Assembly

Increase requested: 500 000 FF

The increasing co-operation needs and growing number of requests - which are linked to the success of the programme, and particularly of the legislative assistance projects - mean that an increase of 500 000 FF would be desirable.

VOTE IX - Co-operation with the countries of central and eastern Europe

HEAD 9.2 - Parliamentary activities

Sub-head/Article

9201 -Co-operation programme with the Assembly

a. Training of parliamentarians and of parliamentary administrative staff (colloquies, seminars, training courses, experts, participation in Assembly activities such as sessions, commissions, ad hoc conferences)

b. Legislative assistance

c. Advice and expert assessment in connection with requests for special guest status, requests for accession, and observation of elections

d. Translation, publications and interpretation in the languages of central and eastern European countries

TOTAL HEAD 9.2 (Vote IX)

Appropriations for 1994

FF

+ 500 000

+ 500 000

Changes in real terms proposed for 1995